Monday, May 31, 2010

Sage Francis And The Best Birthday Ever


Sage Francis is one of my most favorite artists. He is definitely my favorite rapper. And you know what? He was in town on my birthday, playing a show at the Bottom Lounge. Hell yeah.

Sage is a unique rapper. First of all, he's a tubby, bald white dude. You wouldn't look at him and say, "Damn! Who's that rap superstar?!" But then again you probably wouldn't look at me and assume my love of hip hop. Sage hails from the hardcore, menacing streets of Providence. That's right, the oft-talked about rap epicenter of Rhode Island. He got his start as a slam poet, a fact that you can hear in his rhymes and speech patterns. His lyrics reflect on childhood scars, relationships, socio-political turmoil, and farts. Yeah, farts. He's well rounded, both physically and artistically.

Sage Francis has been a favorite of mine since my friend Christine put two of his songs on a mix tape for me when we were in high school. And over the years my fandom has grown and grown. You see, this time last year I had a terrible bout with depression. I could not sleep, clumps of my hair fell out, persistent anxiety ruined every aspect of my life. It truly sucked. And I listened to his album Human the Death Dance nearly every sleepless night. Especially the song Hell Of A Year. At a time when everyone and everything felt so distant, I felt his songs pull me back to reality. Yeah, it sounds cheesy. Whatever.

Last August, Sage posted on his Twitter page that he was in Chicago and wanted to meet all of his fans at this bar called The Bad Apple. Even though I was nervous, I went all by myself to this new bar. I got to meet him (see the picture above!) and got a huge bear hug. Two hugs, actually! We hung out in a group talking about festivals and sharing veggie burgers. I offered him cello recordings and he told me I needed to play live more. And, well, I did. Once in awhile I email him, and he always writes back. Even if he secretly thinks I am creepy, he doesn't show it! Seeing him earlier this month on my birthday signified the close to my "hell of a year". I took a look back and saw how much I have changed. I am happy, confident, open to new things, and most importantly, making music. It was a lot of work, and Sage Francis was unknowingly a huge part of it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tomorrow at Lizard's!


Come hang out and drink $4 margaritas tomorrow at Lizard's Liquid Lounge at 3058 W Irving Park. I will be doing a set of covers, mainly dirty rapz. There is a new dirty rap to honor the summer-like weather of this past week. Don't miss it! No cover!

Lizard's is always a good time! See that picture? That's what it was like the last time I played there. This event starts at 8pm and I am followed by Adam Johnson at 10pm playing classic country songs!

RSVP to this show here!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

MachineGun Mojo's Woman



Last week I was in the studio adding some cello to the song "Woman" by MachineGun Mojo. It was a lot of fun. It is a rare occasion when bands give an outside musician free reign to do whatever she wants to their song. Some people jump at the chance. However, coming from a classically trained background, it has generally scared the crap out of me. You don't have sheet music? You want me to make up something? Terrifying.

Becoming more open to improvisation has been a difficult process. I envy the musicians who are able to play as if their instrument were an extension of their own bodies. The ease and comfortableness that comes to them so naturally has taken me years. And I'm still not all the way there, not even close. But things are beginning to click. Within the first listen of Brynn Mawr's song "Heartbreaking" the cello line came to me immediately. And in an hour it was recorded. A few listens of "Woman" and I had already figured the two separate cello tracks I wanted to record. I guess they aren't shitting you when they say the only way to get used to something strange is to keep doing it.

Six hours, five pizzas, and three cases of beer later we had successfully added the lush bottom lines that they needed. And yeah, those guys are awesome. They made me feel totally comfortable in the studio, and we had never even met before that night. There will probably be more cello added to this current project soon. Can't wait!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Brynn Mawr at Manifest!


This coming Friday I will return to my alma mater to accompany the fantastic Brynn Mawr at Columbia College's annual Manifest Festival! I will be playing some cello and singing back up with her. Piers Telford and Joe Korbee are also joining us!

Brynn appears as a special performer for the Acoustic Kitchen showcase. Join us from 3pm-6pm on the second floor of the UC building at 525 S. State St in the South Loop of Chicago. There will also be a parade, art installments, film showings, and music showcases all over the South Loop at Columbia's many buildings.

Click here for a full program of Manifest events!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bringing you the rocketsauce!



Welcome to my new site and blog! Come to Subterranean on May 13th if you want to hear some lush harmonies and hot vibrato-heavy cello. I will be playing with the awesome Chicago band Hey Rabbit. It's a special CD release show for Ben Keeler and the 500 Club's new album, so get ready to party!

It is $8 and starts at 8:30, so that is easy enough to remember! See you there!

Venue information:
Subterranean
2011 West North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647-5413
(773) 278-6799
Click here for a map!